Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

History

Degree Program

History, MA

Committee Chair

Bowman, Brad

Committee Member

Beattie, Pamela

Committee Member

Beattie, Blake

Committee Member

Rabin, Andrew

Author's Keywords

medieval; Vulgate; Sarras; Jerusalem; crusade; Islam

Abstract

The Lancelot-Grail Cycle was written at a critical juncture for the crusading movement, twenty years after the fall of Jerusalem. Its popularity rose through the 13th and 14th centuries during which the last crusader kingdom of Acre fell. With its combination of religious and chivalric themes and repeated motif of Christian knights in the East, the Cycle draws many parallels between its Arthurian narrative and the crusades. Despite this, the city of Jerusalem is almost completely absent from the text, overshadowed by Sarras, a nonexistent city. As the text’s most important eastern location, Sarras serves as a commentary on Jerusalem, Islam and the crusades. By examining text of the History of the Holy Grail and Quest for the Holy Grail and comparing Sarras to contemporary crusade sermons, polemics, and chronicles, it is possible to better understand the message of the Cycle as well as one potential reason for its popularity.

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